Arlene Phillips was called a 'freak' for being an older mother

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 31 May 2017
Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips

Ex-'Strictly Come Dancing' judge Arlene Phillips has revealed she was told she was a "freak" after giving birth at the age of 47

Arlene Phillips was told she was a "freak" after giving birth at the age of 47.

The former 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge encountered prejudice after having her daughter Abi in 1991 - but Arlene thinks the landscape is different for older women in 2017.

Arlene, now 74, shared: "[I was told] I was some kind of freak, that I would find it hard to bond with my baby when I could be the grandmother.

"I'm so vociferous if anybody says something to me that I find offensive. But I was so vulnerable. I let all these remarks go by with tears in my eyes.

"Nowadays, being an older mother is very common. When you let all those things go you see the absolute joy of having a baby when you're older. You really do feel like you've been given a gift."

Arlene admitted she even felt self-conscious when she went to collect her daughter from school.

She told Good Housekeeping magazine: "When she was little I felt terribly old and self-conscious at the school gates. Now she is a teenager I notice it much less. Perhaps that's because it feels as though there's less of a gap in age between women as they get older or maybe I'm just more confident these days.

"The main worry is always whether you will see your children grow up. My own mother died from leukaemia when I was 15 - she was only 43, so you can't legislate for that."

Meanwhile, Arlene also revealed she's never been given a reason as to why she was replaced by Alesha Dixon on the 'Strictly' judging panel in 2009.

She explained: "I don't think I will ever know the answer. Certainly after 'Strictly' I was in a very vulnerable situation. Prior to finding out that I was not going to be on the panel I had lost my manager of 30 years to cancer. I couldn't think about fighting.

"I couldn't think about losing a job. I was in despair and grief-stricken. I didn't stand up or make my voice heard. I wasn't in a place to be able to do that. But I have a 48-hour rule - it's what I tell dancers and it's what I tell my children - give yourself 48 hours to moan and groan, then just get up and get on with it."

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